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Grave Danger: How to Train Your Petpet


by aliceinwonderland18

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It’s the sixth time this week you’ve sent your pet’s petpet off to the Catacombs below Neovia, in search of treasure. You’ve heard of all the amazing riches to be found down there: rare paint brushes, books, and morphing potions worth millions of neopoints. The current most sought after paint brush, the Maraquan Paint Brush, can net you 6 million neopoints on the Trading Post alone, and it’s just waiting down there for you to find! You just need your petpet to find these treasures, bring them back, and you’ll be an instant multimillionaire. You cackle to yourself, just thinking of all the things you could buy with those millions of neopoints.

     Eight hours later though, you have your third set of Courgette Building Blocks this week to match your two Tencals Balloons from the past two days and the Green Sticky Hand from three days ago. Your dirty petpet is looking up at you with eager eyes as it drops its prize at your feet like it’s done a good job. Frustrated you may be, you couldn’t possibly deny those adorable eyes and you give it a little pat even as you sigh in resignation, pocket the toy into your inventory, and get ready to give your petpet a bath to get rid of that musty Catacombs smell. Guess multimillionaire status isn’t as achievable as you’d hoped.

     Still, there must be a way to get your petpet to focus on the real treasure rather than these toys you could buy for less than 10 neopoints. Fret not, my friend. Behold, I present to you the guide to training your petpet to grab that elusive Maraquan Paint Brush in just 3 easy steps.

     1. Exposure Training

     First off, your petpet adventurer won’t know what it’s supposed to be looking for unless it has an example. Paint brushes are expensive, but if you can’t afford one, you’ve probably still got the basic Starter Paint Brushes shoved in your Safety Deposit Box somewhere from when you first joined. They’ll do in a pinch if there’s nothing else, but the rarer paint brushes always have a little extra something to distinguish them from the plain coloured paint brushes, so I would highly recommend making the investment. No gain without a little bit of pain, as they say. Regardless, it’s good to have an example to show your petpet of what you want it to look for: let it poke around it, sniff it, let it get used to the humming sound it makes and its paint brush-ness. Make loud, dramatic ooh-ing and ahh-ing noises as often as possible to demonstrate how impressed you are with the paint brush and imply how nice it would be if your petpet could bring you back something similar. Hopefully, it’ll get the message.

     2. Muscle Memory

     Now to train it to bring it back to you. Leave your example paint brush within view a slight distance away. Make sure to keep an eye on it. You wouldn’t want the Pant Devil to have a prime opportunity to steal it away. Have your petpet go to it, grab it, bring it back to you, and repeat. Treat it like a game and make sure you effervescently praise and gush at it every time it does this correctly. It’s possible that the first few times will be downright impossible; some petpets like the Spardel or Puppyblew somehow instinctively know how to play fetch while others like the Angelpuss or Meowclops will stare judgmentally at you until you bring the paint brush back to them. Be patient with it when it gets distracted or doesn’t listen. After all, it’s trying its best and Faerieland wasn’t built in a day, you know! The last thing you want to do is upset it. This will make training in the future even more difficult, and your pet will be devastated that you made his best buddy cry.

     Do this as many times as possible, gradually increasing the distance, and then switch to hiding it in progressively harder to find places. Who knows if the paint brush you want is laying down there in plain sight or tucked away in some hidden crevice? Only your petpet knows and you need to prepare it for whatever scenario it finds itself in. Once it’s in the habit of finding the paint brush and bringing it back, continue to train it so the muscle memory really sticks. With any luck, the next time you head to the Catacombs, your petpet will head straight for the paint brush, wherever it may be hiding, and bring it straight back to you, just like you practised.

     3. Positive Reinforcement

     Since your petpet won’t be directly reaping the benefits of whatever rare paint brush or other treasure it’s supposed to be searching for (unless it brings back a petpet paint brush. But even then, it’s a tossup whether it understands the benefits of being painted a cool colour), it’ll need some motivation. After each training session, take your pet and petpet along for a reward, be it a Tiki Tack Tour of Mystery Island, a yummy dinner at the Kelp Restaurant (or The Golden Dubloon, but the wait there can be indescribably, frustratingly long), or even a concert at the Tyrannian concert hall. Set a baseline and perhaps increase the reward a little when your petpet does an exceptionally good job during a session. Don’t take away rewards altogether if your petpet doesn’t do well at training that day. This is very important as it can be detrimental to training sessions in the future if your petpet cannot trust you to reward it for its effort each time.

     So there you have it. Your Maraquan Paint Brush will soon be yours! Or your Grave Danger Stamp, morphing potion, et cetera. This guide will work just the same, just change up your example item and get to training! Multimillionaire status awaits.

     ...or, you know, you could just be grateful your brave little petpet is willing to brave the cultists, Gelatinous Non-Cubes, and other unsavoury characters lurking down in the Catacombs every day and still loves you enough to bring you back a little something from its adventures.

     

 
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